Two Types of Decisions: Buy-IN, and BuyING.


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Recently someone told me that Buying Facilitation® is an old concept, that its been written about in books since sales books have been written, and that he’s been helping buyer’s buy for decades. Of course he has, except that he, like the entire sales field, has a paltry success rate – certainly under 10%. Why? If the seller understands the need, has the right solution, and has a great relationship, what’s stopping the buyer from buying as often as they should? Why isn’t the buyer deciding on the obvious solution?

Indeed, I just heard a statistic that in mature prospecting situations in which sellers are waiting for a close, at least 20% of these situations don’t close due to ‘no decision.’  But a decisions has been made! It’s ‘We Have Decided Not To Buy Your Solution From You At This Time.’ So it is a decision. It’s just not the one you wanted. Or it’s possible that you never had a buyer to begin with, and have either told your managers you’d be closing, or convinced yourself that you have a buyer when you really don’t.

And I’m not even discussing the 30% that are in line to close but choose another vendor…. a waste because they didn’t know how to choose you. And what about those that you lost well before they got in line to be READY to close? The entire sales process is a giant waste of time and energy!


Buyers have two types of decisions. One is the focus of our sales efforts: the decision to buy a solution. Of course this has been written about for decades. But the other set of decisions they must make is around buy-in: until or unless all of the people, policies, relationships (partners, vendors, rules, etc) buy in to bringing something new in, nothing will happen and no buying decision will be made. These decisions are private and idiosyncratic, and we sit and wait for them to happen. Sales does not manage this.

I call the facilitation of these non-solution-oriented decisions – the behind-the-scenes decision issues that have nothing to do with the Identified Problem - Buying Facilitation®. You can call it anything you want. But until or unless a buyer recognizes and manages these often-unconscious decision issues necessary to get group/company buy-in, buyers won’t choose a solution.

This is where our prospects go when they don’t choose us: they get caught in their internal relationships and politics, their old vendors, their status quo. And the sales model does not handle this. It never has.


Before you showed up with the perfect solution, the buyer’s environment (I call it a system) worked… well, it worked the way it worked. The problem we can resolve with our solution is not an isolated event: it sits within the buyer’s system as a piece of the pie, an ingredient if you will, not the whole pie. The system has accepted it and has created work-arounds for it. In other words, the problem we can resolve is not a big problem to the system. We see it as such because we concentrate on it so we can sell.  But if the system was being harmed by it, it would have fixed it already

It is only when the problem becomes an annoyance to the rest of the system that the buyer is willing to do something different. At that point, not only does must it choose a solution, but because the problem has been embedded and touches so many parts of the system, it must manage the work-arounds that were created along the way to make sure the system kept working with the problem in it. A decision to bring in a new solution (a buying decision) is a change management activity.

decision to buy a solution must be backed by the full force of the team/group/company/family, otherwise the fall-out would harm the originating group and not be worth it. If the head of training will quit because she doesn’t want the new vendor to ‘do her job’ or if the tech team will not be able to integrate the new software or if the management team is wary of having outsiders come in, no buying decision will be made. The system is sacrosanct.


Sales is necessary to help manage the needs assessment and solution placement AFTER the buyer has navigated through all of their decision issues. Unfortunately, buyers don’t know at the start what sorts of issues they’re going to have to handle. That’s where we come in. With an entirely new/different skill set – NOT SALES as I repeatedly say in my new book Dirty Little Secrets – it’s possible to be a GPS system for your buyer and help them navigate through their decision issues. Not toward a solution, necessarily. But toward a resolution of the factors they need to address to get buy-in. First help buyers make their buyIN decisions, and then you can help them make their buyING decisions.

Buying Facilitation® is not sales: it does not do needs assessment; it does not do solution placement; it does not manage objections (but it mitigates them). But it will make you first a decision facilitator and true consultant, will differentiate you from your competition, and it will help buyers make decisions 80% faster. Buyers have to do all of  this anyway, with you or without you. And the time it takes them is the length of the sales cycle. You’re already waiting for them – you might has well offer them true leadership while you’re waiting (It’s not sales. It’s not sales.).

Get a copy of Dirty Little Secrets. Take a training with me at the end of May here in Austin. Do the Guided Study program. Mitigate the 20% failure rate by spending time only on the right prospects, and helping them close a lot faster; get 35% more prospects at the beginning, and early on get rid of the ones who will never close. If you want to discuss, have a look around or call me: 512 457 0246.


Currently I am holding a contest, The 10 Steps of a Sales Cycle, for a free signed copy of Dirty Little SecretsJoin now for your chance to win.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Sharon-Drew Morgen
I'm an original thinker. I wrote the NYT Bestseller Selling with Integrity and 8 other books bridging systemic brain change models with business, for sales, leadership, communications, coaching. I invented Buying Facilitation(R) (Buy Side support), How of Change(tm) (creates neural pathways for habit change), and listening without bias. I coach, train, speak, and consult companies and teams who seek Servant Leader models.


  1. Sharon,

    Excellent two views and especially like the behind the scenes perspective that you espoused. I believe your buying facilitation thoughts and concepts are as current as ever. Thanks for a thoughtful read.



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